A telling statement in our household is the phrase, “I haven’t laughed enough today.” Just as our bodies need food, air and water to survive, our spirit craves laughter and fun in order to thrive. When my daughter was in the throes of a bipolar depression, there were many days that we forgot to laugh and many days that we were incapable of expressing the joy of life. Often, each day was about survival and mustering through medication adjustments, rather than making the most of each moment that we were together. However, little by little, as my daughter made improvements, and as I began to trust her recovery, the smiles and laughter that usually graced our home returned.
This past Tuesday, was a rough day for my best friend. She suffered a traumatic brain injury from a car accident a little more than two years ago and her life is vastly different. I still approach her as the same brilliant person that I’ve always known, but her cognitive and emotional skills have rendered her unable to work for now. Having always been a person who prided herself on her amazing intellect and work ethic, this has been quite a blow to her spirit. After dedicating her life to helping others, she’s now the one needing assistance.
I’ve been helping her organize her beautiful home by getting all of the paperwork that’s piled up since her accident in order. It’s a daunting task, but one that we’ve approached with much effort and laughter. On Tuesday, the mirth and merriment halted after finding out that she needed to reapply for her Social Security Disability Benefits. After visiting the Social Security office, we headed to her home to begin the online application. I could quickly see my friend’s spirit tiring as she searched through medical and financial documents. Her frustration mounted as her internet connection slowed and flickered; finally halting our efforts. I was obvious that she was using all of her mental fortitude to not dissolve, defeated, into a puddle of tears. It felt terrible to leave her in such a downtrodden and exhausted state.
Today, after wellness center and weigh in, we’re meeting up to try again. I’m prepared for some frustration, but I’m also prepared to lighten the mood. Part of loving a friend is being their caregiver, at times, but it’s also essential to remember to nurture the other components of a relationship. My friend needs my help, but her spirit sometimes needs me to take her away from her troubles by our laughter and silliness. Having fun matters. It normalizes us and presses our reset button. Having fun edifies us and fills us up. Having fun is healing, and we can’t let the struggles of life cause us to forget that!
What do you do when you need a good laugh? 🙂